Sam Carter is one of the UK folk scene’s most pre-eminent songwriters. As capable of personal, intimate reflections as he is of broader, more political material, Carter has been growing his profile of late, with appearances alongside Richard Thompson and Nic Jones on his CV, as well as the all-important Jools Holland slot – notched up last October.
With his most recent album, The No Testament, Carter has incorporated an American influence – specifically the shapenote singing tradition, where large congregations sing out soulful, sacred sounds. On the album’s opening song, Dreams Are Made of Money, he rearranges a shapenote hymn, turning it into a catchy, timely ode to the economic crisis: “When you’re in the red and you long for black / Dreams are made of money / When your head’s full of worry as you hit the sack”.
Hardcore folkies will enjoy Carter’s fresh takes on traditional songs – versions of Oh Dear Rue the Day and Jack Hall are particularly impressive. And he’s a fine, dexterous guitarist in the manner of his musical hero, Jones.
Though Carter is just as happy fronting a raucous band, for this show he’ll be on his own, with just an acoustic guitar for company. It’ll be one of those whites-of-your-eyes experiences – a chance to witness some of his affecting, dramatic compositions up close. It will be interesting to see how he works with an audience away from the folk club/art centre setting he’s more usually to be found at. He deserves a big crowd to hear it happen.